The first verse of this text says, “At that very hour.” What hour? The hour when Jesus, while making his way to Jerusalem, is casting out demons and curing the sick. It is the hour when he is telling the townsfolk that the arrangements in the kingdom of God will be radically different from the present order of things. “Some who are last will be first, and some are first who will be last,” Jesus says. This message does not sit well with those who hold power and see themselves as deserving first place. Jesus’ message sounds like anything but good news to religious and political authorities. “At that very hour” some Pharisees come with their own message and say to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”
“That very hour” is not relegated to biblical times. “That very hour” is now. The news of God’s radical reversal of power still threatens those who work hard to maintain arrangements that benefit themselves at the expense of others. Greed and lust for domination and power continue to wreak havoc on the planet, the poor, the most vulnerable in our society, the church, and our own spirits. Jesus clearly sees right through the Pharisees’ pretense and Herod’s scheming, and he will have none of it. He must be on his way to fulfill his purpose.
Our faithful and hopeful response to God’s call includes examining ourselves to see how we contribute to or benefit from arrangements that harm others. It requires our participation in dismantling systems and structures that oppress peoples and harm the earth. Our faithful response involves taking our proper place at the table in God’s kingdom.
Loving God, show us how to see ourselves and others within your beautiful upside-down order of things. Amen.
This week’s readings give witness to the ways of God and provide confidence and hope in our faith. In Genesis we read of God’s promise to Abram, a promise that seems very unlikely to a man with no children. But God seals the covenant, and the story later shows that God never breaks God’s promises. The psalmist even while mired in conflict praises God for being his light, his salvation, his stronghold. The psalmist longs to be in God’s presence forever, a desire that can inspire all of us as believers. Paul says that in the future reality, we will no longer experience resistance from those who oppose God. One day Christ will fully transform us to our citizenship in heaven. Jesus himself experienced resistance even in Jerusalem, yet he ultimately triumphs, as will all those who trust in God.
Read Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18. How can you take a step forward in the dark toward God’s seemingly impossible promises for the future?
Read Psalm 27. Recall a time when you waited in the shadows of your life. What did you learn about God’s provision during this time?
Read Philippians 3:17–4:1. How do you live in the paradox of standing firm in faith by being vulnerable?
Read Luke 13:31-35. When have you been unwilling to accept love? How can you comprehend the depth and yearning of God’s love for you?
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